broadband Business

BT Calling Time on 20CN Broadband #ipstream #datastream #retirement

I learned today that BT Wholesale is taking steps to phase out 20CN broadband products IP Stream and Datastream and is entering discussions with industry (ie me & others) re the future of SDSL.  I don’t think there were many Datastream based ISPSs (Tiscali being one that springs to mind) but the withdrawal of IP Stream  is good news for the many in the country whose broadband speeds are “up to 8Mbps” max.

The replacement will be based on 21CN technologies that include ADSL2+ ( “up to 24Mbps”) and FTTC (“up to 40Mbps) though if you live in an area that is only currently served with 8Megs I wouldn’t get your hopes up re the latter.

BT expects to have completed the withdrawals/migrations by the spring of 2014. It will go like a shot.

Whilst not part of the communication from BT I understand that the drivers for the change are partly equipment obsolescence and partly to stop spending cash on a 20CN network that still has growing demand.  Vendor support for the ADSL DSLAM kit is stopping and it doesn’t make sense to invest in the older more expensive 20CN network when to do so for 21CN is better all round.

ISPs like Timico will have plenty of time to migrate customers from one technology to the other and I imagine that these customers will by and large be eager to make the change.

SDSL is likely to be replaced by FTTC/FTTP.  There are far fewer exchanges supporting SDSL than ADSL and these will almost certainly be in more densely populated areas and near to businesses.

More news on this in due course and as necessary.

Footnote 1/7/11

Looks like I read the briefing in haste – so here is a leisurely repentance. Datastream is going UK wide.  IP Stream is only going within the WBC footprint. This means if you are an 8Mbps user in an area that already supports 24Mbps you will have to move over whether you like it or not.

Unfortunately for those on the digital  periphery it means that you will probably continue to get your old service.  Sorry to get anyone’s hopes up.


Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

7 replies on “BT Calling Time on 20CN Broadband #ipstream #datastream #retirement”

More details please (when you are able)…!

I’m on a crappy old 20CN exchange. used to show a 21CN WBC upgrade date (March 2011) for my exchange but that disappeared a while back.

If BT couldn’t get their finger out to upgrade ‘me’ to WBC what are you saying I’ll be getting?
SDSL? What will that buy me and how will that work on long’ish’ rural’ish’ lines (but only 15miles as the crow flys from central London!!!).

It doesn’t sound quite right that they haven’t met their previous upgrade schedule but are now announcing product ‘retirements’ ?!?


No. SDSL is also likely to be phased out but there are now better products there to replace it – FTTC/P and EFM (for business – but its only business that took SDSL anyway)

Where does IPSC fit into this? Couldn’t IPStream be withdrawn simply by killing off BT Centrals (and Pluses if there still are any) at the ISP end?

They killed off BT Centrals some time ago. IP Stream Connect replaced them – the traffic is carried over an ISPs BT WBMC Hostlink which is the pipe into the BT 21CN WBC network.

The problem is that BT still has to maintain two networks & 21CN is cheaper than 20CN to do this.

Re. SDSL – sorry I got that from your original post that I misread.

So BT are saying all 20CN exchanges will be “based on 21CN technologies” (or Fibre if they are lucky)?

Just seen your new ‘footnote’ – looks like no changes for me then 🙁

I’ve just re-read your original post…
“BT calling time on 20CN broadband ” – Can you tell what BT’s plans are for those of us stuck on a 20CN Market 1 exchange. Your ‘footnote’ confuses things as you seem to say they’ll be no change, which conflicts with “BT calling time on 20CN broadband”?!


tref, I accepted “They killed off BT Centrals some time ago” when you posted it, as it seemd quite likely.

However Andrew at TBB doesn’t seem to think so, (last paragraph of tbb News article 20 July), and recently amended BT SINs still describe IPStream quite separately from IPStream Connect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.